The kick off for the second annual Style Week Pittsburgh is just hours away.
This time around, founder and director Wadria Taylor is opening the seven-day affair with a runway show featuring the creations of designers with international ties. One of them is Portia Brady, a recent transplant to Pittsburgh from Dublin, Ireland.
Stylebook has a sneak peek of her styles and got the scoop on what influences her fashions and her favorite things about Pittsburgh so far. Check back this afternoon for a Q&A with Style Week's other international designer, Toya Taylor of Kingston, Jamaica.
What inspired you to become a designer?
My father's wise words of advice were that you should build your career out of the things you love to do in your free time, because if you love what you do, you'll never truly work a day in your life. I had been sketching fashions and making my own clothes since I was a child, so it was a perfect fit when I finally made fashion my career.
My favorite thing about being a designer is ... the freedom. I have creative freedom over my own work and freedom with my schedule. I think creative personalities can really wilt if forced into certain boxes but being able to work how and when I need to has allowed me to flourish.
As a designer, I'm inspired by ... the woman I am designing for. I always try to envision who she is and what her story is and that helps me to create the perfect gown for her. That's what makes it particularly special for me when clients contact me to tell me they love a gown and it's exactly what they've been searching for.
What brought you to Pittsburgh?
My boyfriend and I decided together that Pittsburgh had the greatest mix of features for us. He is a doctor and was drawn to the great medical facilities in Pittsburgh, while I loved the up-and-coming fashion scene and beautiful scenery and architecture. We live in Shadyside, and I have a fashion studio in Forest Hills where I work away from the hustle and bustle!
I feel my greatest accomplishment to date is ... making a gown for the beautiful Irish singer Andrea Nicole to attend the Grammy Awards last year. I felt such pride seeing my gown on the red carpet.
I would describe my design aesthetic as ... classic style. The great icons were not followers of trends but had a timeless style that suited their shape and personality. I try to create garments that will stand the test of time and will always exude class and elegance.
The biggest misunderstanding about fashion and design is ... that it's easy! Running a design house takes a great deal of hard work and dedication. I love what I do, but I put in very long hours and a lot of blood, sweat and tears, too.
My favorite discovery about Pittsburgh's fashion community so far is ... the style trucks! They are absolutely ingenious. I love the idea, and I had never seen or heard of style trucks in Europe. I can't wait to shop in a truck!
Browse and shop Ms. Brady's collection on her website, portiabridalboutique.com. She also creates custom designs upon request. See some of her styles below and watch an interview with Ms. Brady here. (Photos courtesy of the designer)